My favourite albums of 2010

It’s that time of year again!

Herewith, I present to you those albums from my iTunes vault I’ve enjoyed more than most this past year.

Without further ado…

The Suburbs
Arcade Fire

Okay, no surprise here: it’s been on virtually everyone’s “best of” list. For good reason. The album rocks.

Whether you’re a longtime fan of the band, or new to them, this album is a treat. Especially when you have the chance to see them live at an outdoor concert on the Toronto Islands. Which I did, earlier this summer.

Not that I’m trying to establish my credentials as a “cool dude” or anything…

Crazy For You
Best Coast

Chicks who sing in rock bands are always awesome. Seriously. I think this is a fact, long ago proved by someone more expert in this field than I.

But whatever. This album is wicked. It features lots of reverb, and a totally loveable summer sound. Oh yeah, and a chick on vocals.

Not for people who are lame.

Brothers
The Black Keys

Fuck yeah, man. Fuck yeah.

It’s late. I’m tired. But I’m not ready to call it a night. Heck, I think I might even feel a second wind coming on. So, I pick up a 2-4 of Standard Lager and keep going.

It’s going to be a long night of being a cool dude. Which is hard work.

Thankfully, listening to this album is anything but.

Swim
Caribou

This album is awesome.

Either you’ll love it or you’ll hate it. I know in which camp I reside: THE COOL CAMP.

That is all.

The Big To-Do
Drive-By Truckers

Damn straight I drink bourbon. And I’d like to think the dudes in the Drive-By Truckers do, too.

A little known fact about me: I have a soft spot for southern rock. (Who doesn’t, really?) Lynyrd Skynrd. The Allman Brothers Band. Creedence. The Band. These guys.

Pour yourself a stiff one, put on a pair of your most faded, torn, straight-cut Levi’s, fire up the barbecue, sit in your backyard and chew the fat with your pals.

Les Chemins De Verre
Karkwa

Another unsurprising pick, I know. Polaris Prize winners and Montreal natives, Karkwa have produced an outstanding album. In French no less. Which doesn’t really matter to me, since I’ve never been one to pay much attention to the lyrics of songs anyway. For me, it’s all about the mood the music puts me in, and how it makes me feel.

What’s my mood with Les Chemins De Verre? Upbeat.

How does it make me feel? Trés cool.

Big Echo
The Morning Benders

Wikipedia lists “baroque pop” as one of the genres in which The Morning Benders fall. I don’t know what baroque pop is, nor do I really care to learn.

Regardless, this album is fun. Nothing spectacular. It won’t be accompanying me on a prolonged stay on a deserted island. (That honour is reserved for Paul Simon’s Graceland, thankyouverymuch.) Still, it’s a solid effort.

I especially liked the fourth track, “Cold War.” It’s a be-bopping good time that, I’d like to think, could have even got JFK and Kruschev up on their feet.

Together
The New Pornographers

From the opening guitar riff on the first track, to the last note on the last one, this is a solid album from Vancouver’s indie rock darlings. Sure, it’s a little cute listing yet another Canadian band on my list of favourites. Making good music is about the only thing I think Canada does well. (That and maple syrup. And carbon dioxide.)

Anyway, good album. No reservations about including it on my list. You shouldn’t have any including it on yours either.

Darker Circles
The Sadies

God, more Canadian schlock. What’s my problem this year? Jesus.

A little more country than the New Pornographers. A little grittier too. Just as good. Better, maybe? Who knows. I don’t.

Still, this is a solid effort by a solid band.

Astro Coast
Surfer Blood

Remember Kids in the Hall? If not, you probably shouldn’t even be reading my blog. Honestly. How did you find me? Who are you, anyway?

Regardless, my point: the theme song for KITH was a song by defunct band, Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet. Which doesn’t really matter. What I’m trying to say is this: Surfer Blood are like the new, louder, better guys who provided the theme song to one of the best shows the CBC ever underwrote.

Is that a compliment? It was meant as one.

The Wild Hunt
The Tallest Man On Earth

Finally, a little folk. Phew. About time, eh?

I agree, and I can think of no better example than the latest album by Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson. (Swedish? I know, right?!)

Anyway, his vocals are haunting, raw, and unique. And his tunes are an audible treat, too.

What’s he singing about? Dunno. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m not big on the words. But the melodies are delightful. And that’s enough for me.

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